Kuwait inaugurates massive causeway to free trade zone

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Sunset view of the arch pylon on the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway which will lead to the Future Silk City, in Kuwait Bay, Kuwait April 23, 2019. (Reuters)
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A night view of the arch pylon on the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway which will lead to the Future Silk City, in Kuwait Bay, Kuwait April 23, 2019. Picture taken April 23, 2019. (Reuters)
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Aerial view of the arch pylon on the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway which will lead to the Future Silk City, in Kuwait Bay, Kuwait April 23, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 01 May 2019

Kuwait inaugurates massive causeway to free trade zone

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait on Wednesday inaugurated one of the world’s longest causeways, linking the oil-rich Gulf state’s capital to an uninhabited border region set to become a major free trade hub.
The 36-kilometer (22-mile) bridge connects Kuwait City to the northern desert area of Subbiya, where Kuwait aims to create the “Silk City” project linking the Gulf to central Asia and Europe.
The “Jaber” bridge, named after late ruler Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, spans 36 kilometers (22 miles), three-quarters of it over water.
It cuts the driving time between Kuwait City and Subbiya, close to both Iraq and Iran, from 90 minutes to less than half an hour.
Investment in the Silk City project is expected to top $100 billion, and a 5,000-megawatt power plant has already been built in Subbiya.
The $3.6 billion causeway, designed by Paris-based engineering and consulting group Systra, took five years to build.
The work was carried out by a consortium led by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. along with Kuwait’s Combined Group Contracting Co.
The opening ceremony was attended by Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah along with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon and the leader of the French senate, Gerard Larcher.
Lee Nak-yeon said Wednesday the causeway would establish Kuwait as an international trade center.


Flydubai launches first scheduled Dubai-Tel Aviv flight

Updated 35 min 8 sec ago

Flydubai launches first scheduled Dubai-Tel Aviv flight

  • The Dubai carrier will fly the route twice daily
  • Israeli airlines El Al and Israir are both expected to launch their commercial services between the cities next month

DUBAI: Budget airline flydubai on Thursday launched direct flights to Tel Aviv, the first scheduled commercial service between the two cities, following the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be on hand for the arrival of the inaugural flight after its nearly four-hour trip, his spokesman said.
“PM Netanyahu will attend this morning the welcoming ceremony for the first @flydubai commercial flight that will arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport,” Ofir Gendelman said in a tweet.
“These are the fruits of peace Dear Emirati tourists, welcome to Israel!”
The United Arab Emirates in September signed a landmark US-brokered deal to formalize relations with Israel, the first such agreement by an Arab state in the Gulf.
With their economies hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE and Israel are hoping for rapid dividends from the normalization deal, including an influx of tourists as Dubai enters its winter high season.
“The start of scheduled flights will contribute to economic development and create further opportunities for investment,” flydubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith said when the service was announced earlier this month.
The Dubai carrier will fly the route twice daily, and Israeli airlines El Al and Israir are both expected to launch their commercial services between the cities next month.
Etihad Airways, based in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, has said it will begin flying to Tel Aviv in March 2021.
The UAE became only the third Arab country to normalize ties with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
The two countries have already signed treaties on visa-free travel — although that is yet to come into force — along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.
Since the historic agreement, Bahrain and Sudan have followed suit and agreed to forge ties.
The agreements shattered a longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalization with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.
After the UAE deal was announced by President Donald Trump in August, El Al flew a delegation of US and Israeli officials — led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — to Abu Dhabi in a historic direct service between the two countries.
That was followed by an official visit by a UAE delegation to Tel Aviv as well as a string of charter flights carrying business groups.